February 9, 2013
In Alice Walker's "Everyday Use", the three main characters are black females with varying personality characteristics. 'Mama's house' is where the story occurs. The time period is one of increasing freedom and idealism among not only the African American population but multiple populations of people. The story is full of symbolism and meaning. I think one of the primary ideas the author was attempting to convey was that African Americans experienced significant struggles, internally and externally, during this particular period of time. Mama is shown to be an uneducated but hard working practical woman. Alice Walker reveals Mama is proud of her accomplishments in life - her children, her heritage, her home and her ability to work like a man and care for herself and Maggie. Mama may not fully understand heritage but Mama loved and respected her ancestors as evidenced by Mama's description of the quilts: "They had been pieced together by Grandma Dee and then Big Dee and me had hung them on the quilt frames on the front porch and quilted them...in both of them were Grandpa Jarrell's paisley shirts. And one teeny faded blue piece... that was from Great Grandpa Ezra's uniform that he works in the Civil War. (Walker)“The butter churn is another piece of symbolism that Alice Walker uses to represent Mama's understanding of heritage: ..."you could see where thumbs and gingers had sunk into the wood. It was beautiful light yellow wood, from a tree that grew in the yard where Big Dee and Stash had lived (Walker, Everyday Use)". A reader could also say that when Mama takes the dasher in her own hands, she is symbolically touching the hands of her ancestors. These two examples definitely reveal that Mama was well aware of her heritage! The two daughters, Dee and Maggie, were raised together yet lived their lives very differently. Dee, one of Mama's daughter's, who left home and went to...